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Find out what our theatre team made of London's new openings

Volta International Festival

While plays by our beloved Bard are performed all over the world, Britain doesn’t quite return the love in welcoming international works to these shores. It’s refreshing then that the new Volta Festival is trying to make up for that, offering a chance to catch some exciting emerging names from Europe and America.

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Arcola Theatre, Kingsland Until Saturday September 19 2015

The Win Bin

When is a joke properly funny but also slightly terrifying? When you only have to scratch a little below the surface to see where the laughter stops and reality begins.

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Old Red Lion Theatre, Angel Until Saturday September 26 2015

The Oresteia

There is an elephant in the room here, and it’s nothing to do with the giant winged golden phallus that’s casually trundled out for the curtain call 

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Shakespeare's Globe, South Bank Sunday September 6 2015 - Friday October 16 2015

dreamthinkspeak: Absent

Out with the old, in with the new: the latest victim in London’s trend for bulldozing old buildings and replacing them with high-rise hotels and glass-fronted flats is Shoreditch Town Hall. It has been transformed into a bustling hotel with a swanky bar and an army of purple waistcoated staff to help with check-in.

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Shoreditch Town Hall, Shoreditch Until Sunday October 25 2015

People, Places and Things

The set is white-tiled, Dettol-clean – a urinal or two would not look out of place there – but instead what we are greeted with is Chekhov. 

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National Theatre, South Bank Monday September 7 2015 - Wednesday November 4 2015

McQueen

I basically know about as much about fashion as I do about quantum physics, and this maddeningly opaque biographical drama about the late Lee Alexander McQueen has done nothing to change that.

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Haymarket Theatre Royal, Soho Until Saturday November 7 2015

My Eyes Went Dark

Matthew Wilkinson’s thrilling new play is about a grieving man, suffering a deep, awful trauma. As a visceral, realistic exploration of whether a victim can and should forgive, it’s practically Greek on the tragedy scale. Nikolai Koslov is an architect from Ossetia in Russia whose two children and wife have been killed in a plane crash. He calls it a crime, but everyone around him calls it an accident.

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Finborough Theatre, West Brompton Until Saturday September 19 2015

Thoroughly Modern Millie

Matthew Iliffe’s production of this 2002 musical about the roaring ‘20s offers a burst of sleek hair bobs, jazzy steps and swinging flapper dresses. The staging, dancing and costumes are enough to make you want to do a spontaneous Charleston. The plot and songs, however, won’t leave you with quite the same spring in your step.

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Landor Theatre, Stockwell Until Sunday September 13 2015

Our Country's Good

The wonderfully-named playwright Timberlake Wertenbaker has tightened her grip on the annals of history with this, the second major revival in two years for her classic 1988 drama about  justice and redemption at the founding of Australia.And good for her, but if you caught Out of Joint’s production at the St James a couple of years back I’m not sure you need to come running out to see Nadia Fall’s new one for the NT.

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National Theatre, South Bank Until Saturday October 17 2015

Our House

‘Our House’ is like being sixteen again. Hormones are rampant, emotions are rocketing, energy levels are endless – and nothing makes a lot of sense. Underpinned by a cracking soundtrack from ska band Madness, ‘Our House’ won the Olivier award for best new musical in 2003. It won’t break your heart, but it’s still a head-banging and fist-pumping delight.Steven France heads up a ridiculously energetic ensemble cast, of which director Michael Burgen should be heartily proud.

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Union Theatre, Southwark Until Saturday September 12 2015

Hamlet

As Shakespeare probably wouldn’t have put it, there’s been a right load of old bollocks written about Lyndsey Turner’s production of ‘Hamlet’, which has caused normally sober news outlets to fight like jackals to find the most intrusive and/or patronising angle possible on star Benedict Cumberbatch – a respected stage actor now in the unfortunate position of being the most famous thesp on the planet.

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Barbican Centre, Barbican Until Saturday October 31 2015

McQueen

I basically know about as much about fashion as I do about quantum physics, and this maddeningly opaque biographical drama about the late Lee Alexander McQueen has done nothing to change that. James Phillips’s ‘McQueen’ got stinking reviews when it premiered at the St James Theatre earlier this year, but has proved bulletproof, scoring itself a West End transfer.

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Haymarket Theatre Royal, Soho Until Saturday November 7 2015

My Eyes Went Dark

Matthew Wilkinson’s thrilling new play is about a grieving man, suffering a deep, awful trauma. As a visceral, realistic exploration of whether a victim can and should forgive, it’s practically Greek on the tragedy scale. Nikolai Koslov is an architect from Ossetia in Russia whose two children and wife have been killed in a plane crash. He calls it a crime, but everyone around him calls it an accident.

Read more
Finborough Theatre, West Brompton Until Saturday September 19 2015

Our Country's Good

The wonderfully-named playwright Timberlake Wertenbaker has tightened her grip on the annals of history with this, the second major revival in two years for her classic 1988 drama about  justice and redemption at the founding of Australia.And good for her, but if you caught Out of Joint’s production at the St James a couple of years back I’m not sure you need to come running out to see Nadia Fall’s new one for the NT.

Read more
National Theatre, South Bank Until Saturday October 17 2015

Our House

‘Our House’ is like being sixteen again. Hormones are rampant, emotions are rocketing, energy levels are endless – and nothing makes a lot of sense. Underpinned by a cracking soundtrack from ska band Madness, ‘Our House’ won the Olivier award for best new musical in 2003. It won’t break your heart, but it’s still a head-banging and fist-pumping delight.

Read more
Union Theatre, Southwark Until Saturday September 12 2015

Thoroughly Modern Millie

Matthew Iliffe’s production of this 2002 musical about the roaring ‘20s offers a burst of sleek hair bobs, jazzy steps and swinging flapper dresses. The staging, dancing and costumes are enough to make you want to do a spontaneous Charleston. The plot and songs, however, won’t leave you with quite the same spring in your step.

Read more
Landor Theatre, Stockwell Until Sunday September 13 2015

The 39 Steps

Critics' choice

Current cast features Andrew Alexander as Richard Hannay and Catherine Bailey as Annabella Schmidt/Pamela/Margaret. Other parts are played by Paul Bigley and Stephen Critchlow. There's a wonderful '80s comedy sketch where one extremely effete doctor turns to another and declares, 'I learnt everything I know about women from the novels of John Buchan.'

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Criterion Theatre, Piccadilly Circus Until Saturday October 31 2015

The Beaux' Stratagem

Critics' choice

Does new National Theatre boss Rufus Norris have some dirt on Patrick Marber? Or did the comedian-turned-writer have a bit of a wtf-am-I-doing-with-my-life moment after his tweaks to the ‘50 Shades of Grey’ film script were rejected and decide to go on a rebound fling with his old love theatre?Either way, you wait nearly a decade for one new Marber play, and then three turn up in one year, all at the NT, all within a few months of each other. Prior to June’s ‘The Red Lion’ and July’s ‘Three Days in the Country’, ‘The Beaux’ Stratagem’ is in fact a late Restoration comedy, written by colourful Irishman George Farquhar.

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National Theatre, South Bank Wednesday September 9 2015 - Sunday September 20 2015

Bugsy Malone

Critics' choice

While it is a truth universally acknowledged that anybody who doesn’t like ‘Bugsy Malone’ is a dangerous weirdo who needs to be silenced (or at least splurged to buggery), you can also see why creator Alan Parker has mostly refused to reciprocate the love for his 1976 kiddie-gangster musical film by allowing professional stage productions.The temptation is to be twee. In fact, delightful as it is, ’Bugsy Malone’ is also a pretty brutal tale of adult mobsters – who happen to be played by children – vying for control of Prohibition-era Chicago, with a stupendously high body count.

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Lyric Hammersmith, Hammersmith Saturday September 5 2015

Grand Hotel

Critics' choice

Like the hundreds of glinting crystals in the vast chandelier that hangs over Thom Southerland’s sparkling production, the characters in this richly layered musical are a beautifully crafted but fragile bunch. ‘The Grand Hotel’ is a 1989 adaptation of a 1929 novel by Vicki Baum, which interweaves the stories of guests at the posh Grand Hotel in Berlin in 1928.

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Southwark Playhouse, Elephant and Castle Saturday September 5 2015
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